I’m forever grateful to my Mum for inculcating the habit of reading from an early age. She says I could be found curling up with a good book even at the age of three. Albeit not being able to read, I would still glance through and point at the pictures, asking her to read it as my bedtime story. Even today, I remember the first books I had read, for I still have them with me, including rhymes, poems, and fairytales.
I’m proud to have grown up reading Huckleberry Finn and David Copperfield than the dystopian heroes dripping vampire blood. Of course, there is nothing wrong with reading magic and witchery and the likes of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. In fact, you know how crazy a Potterhead I am! But as Mum says, at a certain age, you need to read certain books. Rather than falling back to easy favorites, it is at this age that one gets to experience the love of reading and the use of a rich and powerful language.
Without further ado, here are my favorite classics I enjoyed as a kid.
13 Must Read Classics for Kids
1.A Little Princess:
The wealthy Sara Crewe tries to settle in and make friends at boarding school. Alone in a new country, she learns that she’ll never be seeing her beloved father again. Her life is turned upside down and she is transformed from princess to pauper, swapping dance lessons and luxury for hard work and a room in the attic.
2. The Wind in the Willows:
Fun and whimsical, the Wind in the Willows is the story of a Mole who hasn’t seen the outside world. He goes on an adventure with the Rat and meets the bad-tempered Badger and the silly, old Toad. Things go on a downward spiral and now the Badger, Rat, and Mole must save their friend Toad from the clutches of the rascally Stoats and Weasels.
Heidi, the little orphan, is sent to live with her grandfather in the Alps, at the age of five. When everyone in the village is afraid of him, Heidi is fascinated by his long beard and bushy grey eyebrows. She loves her life in the mountains, playing in the sunshine and growing up amongst animals and birds. But one terrible day, Heidi is collected by her aunt and is made to live with a new family in town.
Ah, I adored Matilda, the extraordinary little girl with a magical mind. She reads and reads many books. Her family doesn’t pay her much attention, her mother always plays bingo and her father works at a garage. To top it all, her father thinks she is a scab and when it was time for her to start school, she is sent to Miss. Trenchbull’s school who is known for her tyrannical and terrorizing ways with students.
5. Pippi Longstocking:
Funny and entertaining, Pippi is such an endearing character. This spunky young girl is that imaginary friend I had as a kid. Oh, what a gorgeous book!
6. Charlotte’s Web:
This story is about the humble pig Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. A classic Newbery Honor Award winner, this is a light, beautiful, heartwarming tale. Ah, makes me want to read it again!
7. Peter Pan:
Peter Pan is a mischievous boy who can never grow up. He can fly though, and spends his never-ending childhood on an adventure in an island called Neverland. He is the leader to the Lost Boys and encounters mermaids, pirates, fairies and ordinary children from outside of Neverland.
8. The Cat in the Hat:
This famous Dr.Seuss book is eye-catchy with stunning illustrations. I needn’t say anything more about his catchy stories.
9. David Copperfield:
David Copperfield lives happily with his mother until she decides to marry the tyrannical Edward Murdstone. Abused and ill-treated by his stepfather, David is sent to the Salem House, a boarding school where he makes friends with the self-centered James Steerforth and the hapless Tom Taddles.
David returns home upon his mother and half-brother’s demise, only to be neglected by his stepfather who sends him to work at their family bottling factory. What happens when after a miserable life at the factory, David runs away to his great-aunt Betsy Trotwood?
10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn:
These two books were my favorites and I used to ask Mom to read these out always for me. Tom Sawyer lives with his aunt. He is the naughtiest kid in the town and gets bored very easily. His adventures have no end and even before he completes his first one; he starts planning for the next.
11. The Wizard of Oz:
Ever heard of the Wicked Witch of the West, Winged Monkeys, the Queen of Field Mice and Munchkins? They are what awaits Dorothy and her dog Tito as they set out an exciting quest for the Wizard of Oz.
12. Alice in Wonderland:
On a warm summer day, sitting on a riverbank, Alice is bored and drowsy. Following a talking White Rabbit, she falls a long way down a rabbit-hole only to find herself in a dreamlike fantasy world. Running into some of the most entertaining characters in English literature—The White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle, the Cheshire Cat and the King and Queen of Hearts—and being variously mistaken for a housemaid, a serpent, a volcano, a flower and a monster, all in the breath of a single afternoon, Alice is left intrigued and bewildered in equal measure. If this is a magical world, where anything can happen, how will Alice ever find her way back home?
And look at that beautiful collector’s edition! I hope and pray I make enough money to get hold of this amazing edition without any guilt 🙂
13. The Railway Children:
When Father is taken away unexpectedly, Roberta, Peter, Phyllis and their mother have to leave their comfortable life in London and live in a small cottage in the country. The children seek solace in the nearby railway station, and make friends with Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. Each day, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis run down the field to the railway track and wave at the passing London train, sending their love to Father. Little do they know that the kindly old gentleman passenger who waves back holds the key to their father’s disappearance!
There are so many many more books like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mrs.Piggle Wiggle, Mary Poppins, Pollyanna, The Black Beauty, and The Secret Garden too. But remember that each child is different and that you should be patient enough to try introducing multiple books and watch out for the ones that pique interest in your child. Try to pick out books with protagonists near the same age as your child’s. And always note to read out or introduce the book first before the movie.
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That’s all for now!
Let me know your favorite childhood classics?
I hope you’ll drop by tomorrow too.
My theme for the A to Z Challenge this year is ‘Celebrating the Bibliophile in me’, where I would share the books, authors and fictional characters that I love, loathe and tolerate.
Ah, there could be more!
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P. S: Do you want to treat yourself with a multitude of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes from the Spice Capital of the World? Check out my food blog for some tantalizing recipes from Kerala.